Lupus is an uncommon but potentially very serious autoimmune condition. The doctors
who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you in greater detail include your primary care doctor
and your rheumatologist
. Diagnosing lupus is very complex and relies on 11 different criteria. You generally have to have 4-6 of these symptoms to be considered to have lupus. The criteria are medically complex, but can be broken down into several larger basic categories: inflammation of mucus membranes and linings around internal organs; skin rashes; kidney problems; arthritis; presence of autoimmune antibodies in the blood; disorders of the blood counts; sun allergies; and neurological problems. As you can see, if there is any concern about lupus, it is not something you can diagnose yourself; rather it requires an extensive physical examination as well as multiple laboratory tests. It is important to complete this diagnostic work up, as if untreated lupus can have some serious consequences, especially for the health of the kidneys. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular concerns will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor or your rheumatologist is highly recommended.